MLB’s PR offensive faces backlash
Oh, now that Rodriguez in his Hail Mary attempt to overturn his season long ban has filed suit against MLB (again) and the union, the Players Association’s sentiments toward A Rod are not so warm and cuddly. New executive director Tony Clark calls A Rod’s allegation that he was not fairly represented “outrageous, and his gratuitous attacks on our (late) former Executive Director, Michael Weiner, are inexcusable.”
Yet among the union’s rank and file, A Rod might have more supporters today than when he first got suspended for serial doping in August.
Crazy game, huh?
Major leaguers are adamant about wanting cheaters to go down. They still are incensed at Ryan Braun for making fools of them. They are peeved at Melky Cabrera, B Swarovski Jewelry artolo Colon and Jhonny Peralta for cheating and getting raises Swarovski Jewelry out of it.
They’re even more upset with the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals for rewarding cheaters with exorbitant raises.
You ask players, such as union reps Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers and Brad Ziegler of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they’ll tell you they want stiffer penalties for first time offenders, such as 100 games.
“It’s got to be enough,” Commissioner Bud Selig told 60 Minutes, “to deter people from even thinking about doing these things.”
Yet now that Rodriguez’s 162 game suspension is official, with details of arbitrator Fredric Horowitz’s decision made available Monday in Rodriguez’s federal lawsuit, the union and its high ranking members’ rage is directed not at the superstar suing them, nor the severity of the historic penalty he received.
It has nothing to do with the penalty.
It has everything to do with Major League Baseball’s conduct since its version of The Decision, with baseball’s top officials, along with drug dealer Tony Bosch, appearing Sunday night on 60 Minutes.
In their eyes, it’s like a Deion Sanders touchdown dance, with a spike between the eyes. “Piling on,” the MLBPA termed it Sunday in a statement that closed with the specter of “considering all legal options . to remedy any breaches committed by MLB.”
Then again, Rodriguez’s suit gives them no choice but to share their legal options together.
Maybe they can chat about drug suspension etiquette during recesses.
“There is a specific provision in the Basic Agreement that allows us to respond publicly when players make false and misleading statements about the results on a drug case,” Rob Manfred, MLB’s COO, told USA TODAY Sports. “We repeatedly told the union that when (Rodriguez) appeared on the Mike Francesa (radio show), it reflected badly on the program. And at some point, we were going to respond. We waited until the statement was issued.
“We never made an agreement that people could attack our motives and integrity, and we were allowed to sit still and say nothing about it.”
Still, the 60 Minutes segment disgusted several veteran players contacted Swarovski Jewelry Monday by USA TODAY Sports. They vented but were told by the union not to co Swarovski Jewelry mment.
Detroit Tigers veteran outfielder Torii Hunter tweeted, “60 minutes on Arod sounds like a Reality Show. Sounds like everybody on that show was a lil shady. breach of JD agreement. not right.”
Oh, players believe Rodriguez deserves to be punished. They want the cheaters caught. The code of silence during the steroid era is over.
Yet they sure get queasy the more details they learn about the case.
Let’s see, MLB paid off informants with cash in brown paper bags. They provided money, protection and legal fees for Bosch, a drug dealer. They went door to door in South Florida, offering cash and allegedly threatening anyone who had info on A Rod.
Sure, it was sleazy, but as high ranking MLB executives will tell you, they had to sink to that level. They weren’t going to get Gary Jones, a Biogenesis employee, to cough up the goods on A Rod unless they paid the going rate of $125,000. They couldn’t convince Bosch to talk until they offered cozy concessions, including legal fees and $2,400 a day security.